HC Deb 21 May 1968 vol 765 c270
4. Mr. Marten

asked the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement about the effect of the internal affairs of the Island of Anguilla on the external affairs.

The Under-Secretary of State for Commonwealth Affairs (Mr. William Whitlock)

Developments in Anguilla do not alter the position established by the West Indies Act, 1967, under which Her Majesty's Government are not responsible for the internal affairs of the Associated State of St. Kitts/Nevis/Anguilla.

Mr. Marten

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that the inhabitants of Anguilla wish not to have their link with St. Kitts but to have a more direct link with this country? What action would the Government take under the existing defence agreement if there were an attack by St. Kitts on Anguilla?

Mr. Whitlock

Her Majesty's Government's responsibility is, as I have said, for the State as a whole. Any discussions about the possibility of the need for the defence of one of these islands is something we should not undertake in a hypothetical situation. It is hoped that Anguilla will feel able to a large extent to run its own affairs within the constitutional framework of the State, and that is what we have been trying to bring about.

Mr. Chapman

Is my hon. Friend aware that the state of emergency in St. Kitts has been lifted? Will he join with many hon. Members in welcoming this move as a further step towards the restoration of peace in the group of islands?

Mr. Whitlock

That information is correct and we do indeed welcome it.

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